(written for our church newsletter, but still worth sharing...)
Last year my husband’s parents sent us the Fireproof Your Marriage Bible study set. We’ve since had the opportunity to use the study with our small group and were quite surprised by how much we enjoyed it and grew from it.
Fireproof isn’t your typical Bible Study. It begins with a full-length movie; a Kirk Cameron movie at that. Many people will remember him from his early acting days on Growing Pains, or even more recent, lower budget Christian movies like Left Behind. With this in mind, our small group laughed at the thought that this movie could lead to serious discussion and growth.
After some gentle persuading, our group sat down for an evening to see what this study had to offer. The movie began with typical, low budget style: unknown actors, unoriginal characters and cliché writing. We groaned together with the predictability and laughed often at how over-dramatic it could be. We soon found ourselves wrapped up in the story and characters, relating to their struggles and becoming hooked… we wanted to know what would happen! At the end, despite our preconceived ideas and comparisons to Hollywood movies, we were actually impressed.
The theme of the movie is a couple who have grown so far apart they consider divorce. Captain Caleb Holt is a firefighter who believes the saying, “never leave your partner behind.” While his work life advances, his home life deteriorates and both he and his wife have forgotten their true “partners.” The challenge comes when Caleb’s father asks him to take 40 days and follow a book called The Love Dare (which is a real book, also reviewed in this newsletter issue). The Love Dare is a book for couples with a challenge each day to do something selfless and show love to your partner. Caleb accepts this challenge, and therein lies the struggle (and often humour) of the movie.
It’s important to watch the movie first to understand the context of the study as each session of the study shows a clip from the movie which illustrates a key point. The sessions begin in prayer then onto some general discussion to warm up. Second is the movie clip, followed by some simple questions about the movie characters and a short passage to read together.
Next we dive into Scripture; and here our small group found ourselves talking for hours about what it these passages mean and how to apply them. There are Scripture passages and questions specific to men or to women, which gives us a chance to look at these situations from another perspective, and even challenge for each person. For example the first week asks us to “resist the urge to point fingers at each other. Focus on finding and correcting your own flaws so you can personally become more like Christ…”
The sessions include themes like:
-God’s love for you and how it enables you to love others,
-marriage as a lifelong covenant,
-breaking free from temptations,
-understanding unconditional love.
For anyone who is married or planning to be, this study can be very beneficial. What is also great about this study is that you can do it as a couple or a small group, though I believe the conversation is much easier and full of insight as a group.
We are called to love our spouses and reminded repeatedly in scriptures that love is the greatest commandment. This is especially difficult in marriage, and we need to take the time to consider how to become better husbands and wives. By learning to love our spouses selflessly we follow God’s command for us and bear witness to the world what marriage truly means.